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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692

Abstract

PAKENAS, Antônio; SOUZA JUNIOR, Tácito Pessoa de  and  PEREIRA, Benedito. Non-linear dynamics and physical exercise: concepts and applications. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2007, vol.13, n.5, pp. 331-335. ISSN 1517-8692.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922007000500010.

Physicians, physiologists, biochemists, psychologists and even professionals involved with physical exercise have been recently increasing their interests for the non-linear dynamics, a scientific theory developed mainly by mathematicians, which is generically known as the Complexity Theory. Although few investigations on Physical Education and Sports make use of this paradigm to solve their problems, a growing interest for this very approach has been noticed, mainly concerning the effects of physical exercise on changes in the variability and complexity of physiological temporal series. Usually, such changes appear as the decrease in its temporal behavior, denoting in decrease in the body complexity or in the components specifically involved in its regulation. According to the Complexity Theory, since non-linear interactions existing in biological systems are emphasized, it is observed that not only the increase (overcompensation) of the body components with the practice of physical exercises but also those which cause atrophy (decompensation) in parallel, once they can compromise the functionality of these systems. Thus, contrary to the emphasis that is given in the physical training to the monotonous repetition of intense physical activity and with emphasis on positive specific effects, that invariably promote the simplification of the body, larger qualitative and quantitative variation is recommended in the exercise practice. The objective is to preserve its natural complexity or neutralize its rapid decrease with aging. The present review has the objective, besides describing the possible complexity loss with physical training, to discuss some concepts of the Complexity Theory in an introductory way, with particular emphasis on issues involving health and physical training.

Keywords : Fractals; Specificity; fitness and health.

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